Narendra Modi pitches for enhanced connectivity between member countries at ASEAN summit in Thailand, welcomes review of Free Trade Agreement

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday presented a brief blue-print for further expansion of India's multi-sectoral engagement with the ASEAN countries

  • Modi said there was opportunity for boosting cooperation in the maritime security sphere and blue economy

  • The prime minister also welcomed convergence of views between India and ASEAN for cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region

Bangkok: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday presented a brief blue-print for further expansion of India's multi-sectoral engagement with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), one of the most influential groupings for trade and investment globally.

 Narendra Modi pitches for enhanced connectivity between member countries at ASEAN summit in Thailand, welcomes review of Free Trade Agreement

Narendra Modi with ASEAN leaders in Bangkok. Image courtesy: Twitter/@MEAIndia

In his opening address at the India-ASEAN summit, the prime minister said enhancing surface, air and maritime connectivity between India and 10 nations of the bloc will significantly boost regional trade and economic growth.

Modi said there was opportunity for boosting cooperation in the maritime security sphere and blue economy as well as in areas of agriculture, engineering, digital technology and scientific research.

The prime minister also welcomed convergence of views between India and ASEAN for cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region. “India's Act East policy is an important part of our Indo-Pacific vision and ASEAN lies at the core of it. Integrated and economically vibrant ASEAN is in interest of India,” Modi said in presence of leaders of ASEAN countries.

The Prime Minister also welcomed the recent decision to review the India-ASEAN Free Trade Agreement (FTA) which he said will deepen economic cooperation. During his address, Prime Minister Modi also said they want to strengthen ties in the field of maritime security.

The 10-nation Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is considered one of the most influential groupings in the region and India and several other countries including the US, China, Japan and Australia are its dialogue partners. The ties between India and ASEAN have been on an upswing.

The ASEAN region along with India together comprises combined population of 1.85 billion people, which is one fourth of the global population and their combined GDP has been estimated at over USD 3.8 trillion. Investment from ASEAN to India has been over USD 70 billion in the last 17 years accounting for more than 17 per cent of India's total FDI.

The prime minister arrived on a three-day visit on Saturday to attend ASEAN-India, the East Asia and the RCEP summits.

The annual ASEAN summit, a grouping of 10 influential countries, is taking place amid China's aggressive behaviour in the disputed South China Sea as well as in the Indo-Pacific region. The 10 member countries of ASEAN are Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Brunei, Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar and Cambodia.

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Updated Date: Nov 03, 2019 12:30:18 IST